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3oo                         BYZANTINE CHURCHES                      CHAP.
outer part of the edifice that he directed his chief attention —the two narthexes and the parecclesion. These were to a large extent rebuilt and decorated with the marbles and mosaics, which after six centuries, and notwithstanding the neglect and injuries they have suffered during the greater part of that period, still excite the admiration they awakened when fresh from the artist's hand*
The connection of Theodore Metochites with this splendid work is immortalised not only by historians of his day and by himself/ but also by the mosaic which surmounts the main entrance to the church from the inner narthex. There the restorer of the building, arrayed in his official robes, and on beaded knees, holds a model of the church in his hands and offers it to the Saviour seated on a throne. Beside the kneeling figure is the legend, o
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builder, Logothetes of the Treasury, Theodore the Metochites * (Plate XCL).
The restoration of the church must have been completed before the year 1321, for in that year Nicephorus Gregoras2 describes it as then recently (#/m) renovated, and in use for the celebration of divine service. How long before 1321 the work of repair precisely commenced cannot be determined, but it was in process as early as 1303, for that date is inscribed in Arabic numerals on the mosaic depicting the miracle at Cana, which stands to the right of the figure of Christ over the door leading from the outer to the inner narthex. But to have reached the stage at which mosaics could be applied the work of restoration must have been commenced sometime before 1303.
One of the most distinguished members of the Chora was the historian Nicephorus Gregoras, who learned to know the monastery through his friendship with Theodore Metochites. The two men met first when Nicephorus came from his native town Heraclea on the Black Sea to Constantinople, a youth eager to acquire the knowledge
1  Theodori Metochitae carmina, ed. Treu. A 1004, et passim,
2  Niceph.  Greg. i. p, 303 &pn rov veovpyctv e-Tr^Travro rty TTJS Xt6pay
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